What do people wear to work now?

(24 Posts)
cankleofglitter Sat 26-Dec-15 00:46:33

After years of career break and working around the children in a lower level flexible job I have just landed a promotion. It means I will be meeting clients. I have no idea what to wear. When I was a senior manager many years ago I had a wardrobe of suits and heels.

If I wear heels now I might kill myself falling over not be terribly elegant. I have a beautiful briefcase but my observations on trains are that people don't really use them.

My lovely DH has given me a couple of hundred pounds to buy some new clothes but what do I buy?

What do women wear in your office?

BoboChic Sat 26-Dec-15 07:45:25

What industry do you work in?

WipsGlitter Sat 26-Dec-15 07:46:25

Managers - dresses, smart trousers and tops.

BobbiPins Sat 26-Dec-15 07:47:41

Cankleofglitter congratulation on your promotion!

The dress code really varies between industries and companies, some are more conservative, some more casual. The common advice is to look at what your colleagues and your boss wear and try to fit in.

When I worked in London (consulting) most men in my company dressed very smart (suits and shirts, although often no ties). Women could get away with a borderline casual look (flats and cardigans), but senior executives and the women I saw being promoted dressed more professionally.

I don't think women use briefcases anymore, even in most formal offices women have nice handbags instead. It doesn't have to be a suit either, unless you work in a super conservative industry.

If you already have decent suits and they fit, and you are in an industry where men always wear suits, you could probably keep them and invest in a pair of low heel shoes and a nice handbag and some modern jewelry to keep it current. I wouldn't buy a whole new wardrobe until I knew the office culture better.

BobbiPins Sat 26-Dec-15 08:09:08

I agree with WipsGlitter that dresses, smart tops and trousers are the most common attire today.

How about these outfits?

You can wear trousers with brogues if you don't like heels.

cankleofglitter Sat 26-Dec-15 08:27:16

I like all of those looks Bobbipins. I am losing weight at the moment so they may be achievable in time.

As for industry I work for a charity but I work from home mostly with occasional trips to head office. I think I need to dress for the industries that I will be visiting - so senior people in local authorities and in NHS Trusts who are commissioning services from us.

I will ditch the briefcase (sob...It's beautiful) and look for a large smart bag. I have four pairs of brogues so will look for trousers and jackets to start with. I have my eye on a couple of smart dresses. I think the big problem is going to be the low heel shoes.

missmargot Sat 26-Dec-15 08:31:08

Would you find a wedge easier than a regular heel? They can be much easier to walk in if you're not used to heels.

Congratulations on the promotion.

mewkins Sat 26-Dec-15 10:06:04

I guess I work in a similar field (public sector social care) and wear lots of dresses - shift dresses, pencil skirts with casualish shirts, blouses tops etc. Footwear is tricky but half the year I wear boots - ankle boots, knee highs, calf boots etc and then wear sandals in summer months. Sometimes wear ballet flats in spring but always find it tricky. I rarely wear heels now as they make me too overly smart and tall!

BobbiPins Sat 26-Dec-15 10:17:59

Cankleofglitter how try googling "kitten heels".
Something like this www.russellandbromley.co.uk/courts/twiggy/invt/235518

Keep in mind though if you are visiting clients, how are you going to get there? You will basically need to commute in those shoes in winter.
So maybe look at ankle boots instead. Suede looks better (more feminine) with dresses than leather; a thicker sole will be more practical on a rainy day.

Heels can still be very comfortable, you just need to look harder to find them. Thicker heel (block heel) is very stable. I've had 7cm and 8 cm shoes that were as comfortable as slippers!

RaisingSteam Sat 26-Dec-15 16:44:28

Mostly tailored trousers, smart blouses/tops/fine knitwear, fitted (not floaty/flowery) dresses and skirts. Not a lot of stilettos and court shoes TBH.
More opaque tights and low heels or flats or understated ankle boots. Jackets worn as separates rather than suits. Clarks Ciera heeled brogues are very comfortable to walk in but give a bit of height.

A lot of jobs involve carrying a laptop around now so you might find yourself with a computer bag and a small separate handbag. I just can't get all my stuff into a fashion tote bag.

Bouncey Sat 26-Dec-15 17:34:40

Mostly slim trousers and tops - silk blouses, fine merino knits, smart t-shirts and normal shirts. Worn with flats, but with heels below my desk in case of meetings. And a few smart jackets to dress up outfits as needed.

yummumto3girls Sat 26-Dec-15 22:13:14

I have recently returned to work after a few years at home. Can't face wearing suits, uncomfortable jackets and high heels, makes me feel uncomfortable and self conscious. I wear lots of trousers with smart cardigan/ jackets (such as no den) shift dresses are great with thick opaques, I do have a couple of boot/shoes with low heels but mainly flats/pumps, seems to be the norm in my office!

DragonsCanHop Sat 26-Dec-15 22:18:46

I live in cigarette trousers, smart tops and blouses. Sleevless to wear with a blazer for smarter days.

I started out in kitten heels and moved on to high heels and then decided that comfort over fashion expectations is the way to go so now wear brogues and ballet pumps. My work standard hasn't changed and everyone still treats me the same as they did in heels grin

ExConstance Sat 26-Dec-15 23:35:24

I work for a charity too. Some days in office, some meeting clients and some at meetings with commisioners etc. I find dresses best, with maybe a cardigan oin the office and then with a jacket if I'm at meetings. I have the heels problem too and ( like someone above) wear boots all winter, sandals in the summer and I have two or three lowish heels for the times they are essential, but not my favourite look.

cankleofglitter Wed 30-Dec-15 17:21:20

I've been to the sales and picked up two smart blouses, two smart t shirts and two jackets. I also bought a lovely new red patent handbag.

It's all Windsmoor (but hopefully not too dowdy) - it looked fairly classic to me!

cankleofglitter Wed 30-Dec-15 17:27:20

This was one of the blouses I bought

RunRabbitRunRabbit Wed 30-Dec-15 17:33:55

You say it is a promotion so what do the other women at your new level (and one above) wear?

cankleofglitter Wed 30-Dec-15 18:27:33

Run I work from home mostly so I only see colleagues on occasional visits to head office. Many of them aren't client facing either. The charity dress code can be a bit tie dye and hemp...

museumum Wed 30-Dec-15 18:33:33

I'm in arts/culture and almost none of the women wear heels. MN seems obsessed with heels for "looking professional" but I've checked the highest level women at conferences in my sector and very very few wear heels.
Most women wear smart dresses, or slim trousers, shirt/blouse and soft blazer style jackets.
It's important in my sector not to look too "corporate" but still smart and professional - it's a balancing act.

Twinklestar2 Wed 30-Dec-15 18:39:07

I wear skinny trousers and a shirt and heels. Or swap the skinny trousers for a pencil skirt.
Funky Dress, tights and shoe boots.
Smart dress, tights and heels.

Twinklestar2 Wed 30-Dec-15 18:39:37

Oh and no cardigans, always a smart jacket or blazer.

Twinklestar2 Wed 30-Dec-15 18:41:06

Nice top, where is it from?

cankleofglitter Wed 30-Dec-15 18:52:53

It's Windsor Twinkle. Very pleased with it as it was reduced in the sale from £79 to £25!

cankleofglitter Wed 30-Dec-15 18:53:58

Windsmoor sorry. My phone autocorrect ed.

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